TLDR ADVISORY: This article exceeds 1,000 words, and may be lengthy for some readers, including Todd Starnes.
A few articles back, I mused about how some people “of faith” insist on whipping out the victim card whenever their faith, or their actions performed in the name of their faith are questioned. In “Of Faith and Friendship“, I opined that;
It saddens me, more than anything else, that so many people of faith these days insist on wearing the “victim here!” shirt. (Then again, the constant shaming and ridicule by some of the atheistic factions of society can’t be helping that situation either, can it?)
Last night, I came across an article by Todd Starnes, a contributor to the conservative Fox News site. The title of the piece, “NBC Declares War on Christians” should give you a good idea of what the crux of the article is about, and what one should expect to be reading in the 571 words that follow the title. (Only 571 words, Todd? I dedicated over 1k words to my assail of Faizan Syed and Sharia! You’re dozing on the job, Todd!) Todd’s sensibilities were offended evidently, by a recently aired SNL skit entitled “Djesus Uncrossed”, in which a resurrected Christ equipped with guns, takes bloody revenge on his Roman-era detractors and assailants. He (Starnes) even takes a quick-op to ensnare Catholic readers in particular into his mindset, by noting that the brazenly sacrilegious skit aired a mere “three days after Ash Wednesday.” Starnes goes on to explain the reasons why he feels that the offense of Christians and Christianity “is apparently what passes for entertainment these days.” (1)
Ladies and gentlemen, I find myself in a number of quandaries over this one, not only due to my own closely-held beliefs, but also due to the myriad of statements and actions of those who claim to be “Christians” that have caused justifiable scorn and ridicule in the media. So, what I’m going to attempt to do here is to refute Starnes ammodum, while at the same time explaining just why it is that not only Atheists, but also many of us who still believe yet no longer identify as “Christians”, are so utterly disgusted with what evangelical and fundamental Christians are doing to discredit the name and outward image of Christianity. Therefore, I open my salvo with a question; would Todd enjoy some cheese with his cup of whine? Perhaps a nice brie, or a tasty gouda?
~ Todd Starnes is the author of a book entitled, “Dispatches from Bitter America: A Gun Toting, Chicken Eating Son of a Baptist’s Culture War Stories”. (2) Since Starnes is a self-avowed carrier of a weapon primarily purposed to inflict bodily injury and death, I fail to understand just why he should be so incensed at the image of his chosen deity, armed with and using the same types of devices. Sauce for the goose, Todd. Sauce for the goose.
~ Starnes makes mention of a recent article by Rick Chandler, a blogger in the employ of NBC Sports. Chandler’s article, which Todd refers to as a “scathing smear” and a “hit piece”, was critical of New York Jets QB Tim Tebow’s planned speaking engagement at the First Baptist Church, of Dallas, Texas. (3) It seems that the pastor of the Dallas area megachurch, one Robert Jeffress, has been using his pulpit to attack everything from marriage equality and homosexuality, to Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism and Islam. For example, during a 2008 series of sermons entitled “Gay Is Not OK”, he made the statement that;
“What they [homosexuals] do is filthy. It is so degrading that it is beyond description. And it is their filthy behavior that explains why they are so much more prone to disease.” (4)
Evidently, Starnes agrees with these types of statements against the LGBT community, otherwise why would he jump so quickly to the defense of the megachurch and its pastor? What Jeffress, and by extension Starnes fail to understand is that it is possible to be gay, and not engage in sexual activity. In addition, why is it that evangelicals and fundamentalists are so focused on gay sex? Are their own sex lives so uneventful or “plain brown wrapper” that they have to concentrate their mental energies on the nookie that gay people are having? Oh, and one more thing; gay people are no more or less prone to infectious diseases worldwide than straight people. (It’s important to note also, that Tebow cancelled his speaking engagement at First Baptist Dallas after being informed of the nature of the pastor’s and the church’s beliefs and recent declarations. (5))
~ Starnes quotes Southern Baptist Convention spokesman Sing Oldham, who expressed the following sentiment;
“It’s open season on those who profess personal faith in Jesus Christ and pattern their lives by biblical morality,” he said. “Evangelical Christians are treated with contempt and targeted for ridicule.”
Ugh, open season. No Sing, it’s “open season” on those who would seek to deny equal rights under law to every single American, regardless of race, creed, religion, sexual preference or gender identification. It’s “open season” on people like Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Pat Robertson, who “profess personal faith in Jesus Christ”, and then suggest things like leaving a spouse with Alzheimer’s. It’s “open season” on institutions like San Diego Christian College, who profess those high Christian values, but then fail miserably at such basic Christian things as forgiveness. (6) In other words, it’s open season on religious hypocrisy. The folks at NBC realise that people are fed up with the seeming “double standard” that the evangelicals and fundies have continued to display, again and again, and again, and again…ad nauseum.
~ Todd goes on to mention that NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman, while appearing on the “Today” show, denounced religion as being a part of Christmas. He quotes Snyderman as having stated;
“I don’t like the religion part,” said Snyderman. “I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up.”
Todd then makes the assumption that “The “religion” she was referring to is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.” I however, don’t think so. I think what Snyderman was trying to convey was the same idea that I have expressed time and again; that while faith is a good thing, “religion” has throughout the course of history, mucked things up more often than not. It has caused deep divisions in society, pitted brother against brother and son against father. Religion has the propensity to be taken to extremes rather easily, as evinced by events such as 9-11 in the case of Islam, the tumultuous reign of “Bloody Mary” in 1550’s England and the “Rule of The Saints” in Covenanter-era Scotland.
Wow, we’re already over 1,000 words into it here, so I’d better make my point, huh? My point is that evangelicals and fundies are making themselves soft targets, by engaging in behaviors that are widely viewed as antithetical to what being a “Christian” is all about. It’s laughable to the point of sheer irony, that Todd has the temerity to play on the sympathies of Catholics, then jump to the defense of a pastor that has referred to Catholicism as the result of “the Babylonian mystery religion” and being representative of “the genius of Satan.” (7) Todd Starnes is trying to play as multiple pieces on the chessboard, when in actuality he’s just another pawn.
Todd would definitely refer to this article as yet another “hit piece”. Okay, sure. Yabetcha.